Taxes for the average Princeton household would increase $147 if the council adopts the municipal budget it proposed Monday night.
The $60.9 million spending plan, which the council voted 6-0 to introduce, relies on a 1.6-cent increase in the tax rate. The new rate would amount to 46.9 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Last year’s budget totaled $59.2 million and did not call for a municipal tax hike.
Mayor Liz Lempert said the proposed 2015 budget is fiscally responsible, reflects Princeton’s new debt and surplus policies and sets up long-term financial sustainability.
“If this budget is passed, the tax rate will be back where it was in 2010,” Mayor Lempert said, adding that Princeton is seeing the savings of consolidation. “Surrounding communities have had annual increases.
Princeton is taxing at the rate it was five years ago.”
Administrator Marc Dashield said reductions were made after receiving preliminary numbers from various departments to bring the tax rate increase down.
The challenge in creating the budget, he said, is finding the revenues to replace tax dollars. The revenue from fees and permits is down $30,000 this year and the revenue from rents is down $250,000. He also said the revenue from receipts on delinquent taxes is down $240,000 compared to last year.
Besides taxes, the 2015 budget relies on surplus totaling $6.1 million.
“We increased the use of surplus by $100,000 knowing we have increased revenues from the university and an additional $100,000 from a settlement from a tax appeal and cable franchise fees of $155,000,” Mr. Dashield said.
Expenditures include increased costs in salaries and wages, insurance, trash removal and debt service.
“We are managing our debt service using capital surplus funds,” Mr. Dashield said.
Reductions were made in state unemployment and sick leave payment costs in the amounts of $110,000 and $50,000, respectively. The administration also altered some vacant positions to save money.